Was 2019 the year stores became cool again?

TechHQ rounds up the retailers who are overhauling the bricks-and-mortar experience for a digital age.
18 December 2019

Adidas store in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Source: Shutterstock

Grupo Éxito

In Colombia, Grupo Éxito has unveiled its Carulla SmartMarket concept. This includes the likes of smartphone payment, checkout via facial recognition, a virtual shop assistant and augmented reality.

Westfield London 

Westfield London this year opened the doors to The Trending Store, pitched as the UK’s first-ever AI-powered fashion boutique. In partnership with Save the Children, this was available from July 3 – 7, stocking 100 items based on what was trending across social media in real-time.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield partnered with Nextatlas for this initiative. Tapping machine learning tech, the latter says that it is able to predict breaking trends before they happen by monitoring over three billion data points from 400,000+ ‘trend innovators’ globally, analyzing both visual and text content from social media sources.

This data was then fed into a team of stylists, who sourced items on demand from retailers in Westfield London. Each of the trends was presented through mood boards and insights on Ultra HD screens provided by LG.


Puma has opened a flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.

The 18,000-square-foot space, spanning two levels, is its first bricks and mortar location in the city and the first of its kind in North America. EVRYTHNG and Avery Dennison are responsible for the IoT and RFID technologies behind the store.

“I believe investing in this new store— in one of the fastest-paced cities in the world— will help us in our pursuit to be the fastest sports brand in the world. We’re committed to pushing the boundaries of sports, fashion, and technology, and this store is the latest manifestation of that commitment,” comments Bjoern Gulden, CEO at Puma SE.


A Walmart Neighbourhood Market in Levittown, New York, has been transformed into the retailer’s new Intelligent Retail Lab, featuring artificial intelligence-enabled cameras, interactive displays, and a massive datacentre.


Samsung has launched Samsung KX, its new experience space in King’s Cross, London, which showcases what the company believes to be the future of retail.

“We have a clear identity, focus, and purpose for KX – perfectly embodied by our staff, who are encouraged to focus more on showing their personalities, rather than selling products – and we’re doing this because we’re confident that we’ve cracked what makes retail great,” says Garrett Page, Head of Operations, Samsung KX.


Adidas recently opened the doors to its new Oxford Street flagship store. This includes over 100 digital touchpoints, all 100 percent powered by green energy.

“We’re confident with the new store we have created an unrivaled experience for shoppers, our most digital store ever, a hub of creativity and innovation for the city and the very best expression of our brand all in one amazing blockbuster destination,” says Roland Auschel, Adidas executive board member, responsible for global sales.


Selfridges has teamed up with Instagram to launch a pop-up at its flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.

Opening from December 5 – 15, The Instagram Edit was situated in the Designer Studio on the third floor and featured a mix of Instagram’s fashion, jewelry, beauty and homeware providers. Those involved included designers Kim Shui and The Frankie Shop, beauty specialist Tandem and jewelry from Mene.

“Brands have been a key part of our community since our launch. We have always been a place to discover and be inspired by businesses of all sizes,” says Eva Chen, Fashion Director at Instagram.

“Today, 90 percent of people follow a brand or business. The Instagram Edit brings to life some of these beloved brands that were built on Instagram in an iconic setting just in time for Christmas.”

Albert Heijn

AiFi is providing its NanoStore template for a new Albert Heijn autonomous store at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Until the end of January, visitors can walk in and walk out by touching a contactless debit card at the door to open it. Items are automatically registered and paid for. Shoppers can also check their purchases at the exit to verify the receipt.

The store sits on the Jan Dellaert Square in front of Schiphol Plaza, after being transported on the back of a trailer truck from its initial test location at Albert Heijn’s headquarters in Zaandam where it has operated since September.